Friday, October 11, 2019

{SQT} New Godparents

1. Parish Carnival

The children greatly enjoyed attending the annual parish carnival again this year: click here. I'm getting old, old, old because my being there only two hours (while Chris put in six hours!) made me so tired that I am going to note on my calendar next year that Carnival Day has to be a day I serve pre-made food for dinner because cooking is too much!

2. Godparents!

We are new godparents to a precious, wee girl who was born only three days prior! I got to hold her and rock her to sleep for the entire traditional baptism ceremony--I have no words for the sweetness! (No pictures.)

Mary had to cut out very early from the carnival the day before to attend her orchestra rehearsal and then had to miss the much-anticipated baptism on Sunday because of her orchestra's fall camp (half-day rehearsal). All in the same week, we offered her one extra violin lesson before seating auditions and the only time slot available conflicted with a really fun event she was anticipating, but she chose the extra lesson instead: She is growing and learning much about making sacrifices for a longer-term goal!

3. The Birds' Big Day Out

We had cause to go to our first veterinarian appointment as pet owners, something I haven't done since my single days in my 20s when I owned cats and a rabbit. Mary's finch, Clara, was looking ragged so we took her in, which was a pretty fun diversion for Mary amidst her school day.

The vet's office had advised that Clara might like her mate Peter to come along just for companionship, but I do not think we will do that again. Peter escaped inside the vet's office and then again when we arrived home, which was much worse because it was inside of our large home with its easy access upstairs and all over. Both parents and all the kids halted work and school and spent 15 minutes waving our arms wildly and chasing Peter around the house until John victoriously captured him.

Peter on the loose at the vet's office

4. Theater: "Peter Pan"

On Wednesday, I got to attend theater with my children for the first time in about ten years, since my first ones were all preschoolers. For all these plays since then, I have sat outside the theater and sent them in without me because I always had nursing babies and running toddlers who could not attend. This was a real loss to me because community theater has been one of my great joys since I was in elementary school! 

My first play back with the children was "Peter Pan," the Broadway version and done at a highly professional level. What a fabulous experience! I just wish I could have sneaked photographs of my children's faces during the two-and-a-half-hour performance: unadulterated joy!

Broadway’s timeless classic delights children and adults of all ages.
Fly to new heights in the Tony Award-winning musical that never gets old. Join Peter as he whisks the Darling children off to Neverland in a story filled with magic, delight and adventure. Together, with the help of everyone’s favorite fairy sidekick Tinkerbell, they’ll face-off against crocodiles, evil pirates and the villainous Captain Hook. With a sprinkle of pixie dust and a dash of imagination, Peter Pan will awaken the child in us all.

Unfortunately, the rest of that day was hard emotionally with kid STUFF, medical STUFF, emotional STUFF, school STUFF.

5. Medical Maladies

Joseph skinned his knee quite badly and Nurse Margaret rushed to his side. Her best always comes out when somebody needs medical attention.

  • Someone tripped badly and partially ripped off the big toenail and injured the big toe, maybe fracturing it, we don't know.
  • The toddler sprayed Oxi-Clean in his eyes, causing panic and many minutes of flushing his eyes and screaming. He was then fine.
  • Someone is having painful tooth problems.
  • Just the other day, someone wondered aloud why the squirrels who drink from our pool never fall in and drown . . . and then it happened today. So, I guess one of our neighborhood rodents had a medical malady, too.

6. Miscellaneous Matters

Chris and John stopped into a pet store so tiny that it sold almost no pets, mostly just cat and dog food, only to discover that somebody moving away had dropped off there this large (but still juvenile!) cichlid, which the store could then only sell for its base adoption fee of $10 instead of the $20-30 it would have cost on the market. A showcase fish for John's new tank, which is coming together so beautifully!

The girls never really got into the electronic circuitry kit that John played with for years when he was younger, but now Joseph (almost 7) has discovered this new fascination. Just like his big brother all those years ago, he doesn't even bother with the instruction booklet but discovers how to make machines that work by experimenting.

Joseph told me they were three fierce ninjas, but I'm not so sure about that smiling guy in the background.

7. Bonus Listening

Sister Agnes gave a talk to a chapter of the Confraternity of Catholic Homeschooling Mothers about her memories of her aunt Rosie Gil and encouraging motherhood: you can listen here. Mamas, this is a really nice one.

Audio lecture on YouTube: "Effects of Modern Music: Influence of Angels or Instrument of Satan?" Br. Patrick Joseph's MICM lecture on Music at Montfort Young Men's Retreat 2019. Parents, this one is so important and useful. This talk is good because it does not give examples (audio clips) of the objectionable music referenced. Also, it uses very discreet language and descriptions of certain immoral behaviors, so I find it will be appropriate to share even with children.

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Parish Carnival 2019

Saturday October 5, 2019

Perfect weather around 65 degrees

Thomas (4) bravely climbing up the big slide

Thomas (4) being escorted down by a teenager after he froze at the top!

David (2) showing his prize

Friday, October 4, 2019

{SQT} Fall That Feels Like Summer

1. Youth Orchestra

Last Saturday was the first rehearsal for Sinfonia Strings, the youth orchestra to which Mary belongs. A new season begins, this one with three concerts!

2. Feast of St. Michael the Archangel

Our parish celebrated the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel (in the old calendar) with a Solemn High Mass and afterward venerating relics of St. Michael (rocks from the cave that he visited). Our diocesan parish prays the St. Michael prayer after all its Masses (which I take for granted, but should not) and our family prays it daily as well.

3. First Aid Class and Medical Mishaps

Our parish homeschooling group is hosting a series of self-reliance classes this year, and so far we have attended auto maintenance and first aid. Upcoming are adult and pediatric CPR, self-defense, and (we hope) mending clothing!

Mary being a volunteer for head injuries

We really appreciated the first aid class taught on Sunday by a Nurse Practitioner who has worked in the Emergency Room for ten years. Clearly our family needs first aid information with our long string of events lately!

Joseph being a volunteer for wrapping bandages

The class was good timing because I got to take Margaret to the Nurse Practitioner to have him check the burn she had received that very morning when she ran (!) through the kitchen (!) and straight into a hot frying pan. The burn is across her cheek and neck so prayers that she will not experience a facial scar are appreciated. Anyway, the NP said we had done everything right and had the perfect prescription burn cream and the appropriate non-stick bandages on hand. I'm now using vitamin E on the burn to reduce scarring.

Additionally, Margaret fell off of our playground equipment this week and landed on her tailbone--on a cement block that somebody had thought to put underneath a playground--such that I thought she might have fractured it. She was out of commission from much moving and certainly from dance class for a whole day.

Later in the week, Mary got her first orthodontia on the way to braces in three to four months! She has had such a sore mouth all week. Additionally, she hurt her toes, maybe fracturing them, maybe just big ouchies, but they are nonetheless taped as she hobbles around.

Everyone survived another week.

4. Pumpkin Patch

On Tuesday, I took five of the children to a pumpkin patch (John having a scheduling conflict that day).

We did witness a terrifying moment at the pumpkin patch when a four-year-old ran away from his mother and into the country highway and came within two feet of being hit by a car going 55+ mph. Our group was under the gazebo listening to the presentation on the pollination of pumpkins when we heard screaming and looked up. A mother was several hundred yards down the private lane (deeper into the farm) chasing after her little boy, who was at that moment running pel-mel past our group and toward the road. One of the mothers in our group (much closer than his own mother) began running after him as fast as she could, but the four-year-old would not respond to anyone. The rest of us mothers and children in the group were frozen and several started screaming as we watched. The boy did not even slow as he ran straight into the highway and a car (driving the appropriate highway speed) screeched his brakes hard and came within two feet of killing the boy . . . who just kept right on running onto the other side of the road into an area with rural homes. Finally, the woman chasing him tackled him and pinned him down till his own mother caught him. While I could not see anything physically wrong with him to indicate that he might have had mental disabilities, something mental or behavioral was wrong because he had to be carried kicking and screaming all the way back into the farm and his leash attached and then he lunged and pulled at his leash the rest of the time we were there. Anyway, I was so shaken up at what almost happened that I was in tears most of the subsequent hayride.

5. Clothing the Crew

Our four-year-old Thomas has been intent on dressing like Mr. Rogers for maybe as long as a couple of months. Thomas exclusively wears what we call Mass shirts (long sleeve, button down shirts) and long pants (khaki slacks or jeans). Considering this has been Charlotte's hottest September on record and it was still 100 degrees during this first week of October, Thomas' sartorial choices have been outright dangerous for causing overheating! In fact, he even likes to put on his red, zipped cardigan sweater over his Mass shirts, just like Mr. Rogers.

To top it off, Thomas sings "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" at the top of his lungs while he is getting dressed. What Mama could resist that?

Since I like the look anyway, this week I finally made it over to the consignment shop (and with my 20% coupon in hand) to buy him more Mass shirts and slacks. He previously owned only three, which was suddenly not enough when he was wearing them every single day!

Wearing a new Mass shirt

We also made some real "scores" this week buying pants for the boys with blowout sales at two different stores for dress pants in one and jeans at the other for just $9 apiece, even up into teenager sizes!

New wool Mass pants, too

6. Sixth Week of School

We wrapped up our sixth week of homeschooling!

We've done local co-ops and hybrid schools for many years and then began withdrawing, making this year the first year we are not in anything for academics. This one-year experiment was a scary plunge. Six weeks in, I can report pros and cons, but I am definitely liking having more control of our own calendar. We can do things like go on a field trip again or slow down due to medical mishaps. I've booked four theater events this year, as well as a bunch of volunteer opportunities. The children can do their daily chores again (which we couldn't manage last year). We can also get more book work done because we're not hauling the family in the car back and forth a couple of days per week.

We are trying quite a few live, online classes for our seventh grader and those decidedly have costs and benefits too. I'm sure I'll report more on that later in the semester.

I'm working very hard as of late on cultivating a rigorous, quiet classroom atmosphere. We have schedules and I'm trying--trying!--to impose quiet during school hours. I try speaking in an undertone in the classroom and remind kids regularly, "This is our classroom during school time, you need to speak quietly." I'm handing out many monetary fines for talking during school and it's actually working and I'm making real progress in ACHIEVING QUIET, which makes study so much easier and makes me a much kinder mother.

Do any of my readers also get sent over the edge by noise?

We even did some painting with acrylics and drawing with pastels this week . . .

My artist Margaret (8) looked out the window at my potted plants and painted them beautifully.

7. Bonus Listening: 

Talk for Young Men about "Keeping Perspective"

This week, I previewed a 30-minute talk given by a Marine officer at the St. Benedict Center young men's summer camp. I pass this on as an inspiring talk for the older sons in your life. The speaker was talking to boys age 14-22 and I certainly think my 12-year-old will love listening to it.

As far as mature topics go, the speaker does refer to "remaining chaste" and avoiding "abusing our bodies for pleasure." He warns against "mistreating young ladies" or looking at them in a mistreating way. He does not use more graphic language than that.

This is an inspiring, manly talk that is good for boys aspiring to manhood!

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.